Árpád szabó and Imre Lakatos, or the relation between history and philosophy of mathematics

Perspectives on Science 14 (3):282-301 (2006)
Abstract
The thirty year long friendship between Imre Lakatos and the classic scholar and historian of mathematics Árpád Szabó had a considerable influence on the ideas, scholarly career and personal life of both scholars. After recalling some relevant facts from their lives, this paper will investigate Szabó's works about the history of pre-Euclidean mathematics and its philosophy. We can find many similarities with Lakatos' philosophy of mathematics and science, both in the self-interpretation of early axiomatic Greek mathematics as Szabó reconstructs it, and in the general overview Szabó provides us about the turn from the intuitive methods of Greek mathematicians to the strict axiomatic method of Euclid's Elements. As a conclusion, I will argue that the correct explanation of these similarities is that in their main works they developed ideas they had in common from the period of intimate intellectual contact in Hungarian academic life in the mid-twentieth century. In closing, I will recall some relevant features of this background that deserve further research
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